News Archives for: August 2003

Mario Kart 64 on Bonus Disc?
Posted on August 27, 2003 @ 6:18 PM EDT by: TW reports on a rumor emerging at today's first day of ECTS (The 'European' version of E3 and TGS)

"We can now confirm that a second Mario Kart game is to be bundled with Double Dash upon its release this November. This morning at ECTS, a Nintendo spokesperson speaking off the record said, "It will more than likely be like the Zelda bonus disk, a remake of the Nintendo 64 title."

We hope this is true!


Paper Mario on the GameCube?
Posted on August 22, 2003 @ 4:40 PM EDT by: Hairball
Nintendo of Europe officially confirmed the return of an overlooked, but well-liked Nintendo 64 classic. Paper Mario will come to GameCube in the first half of 2004.

The European release date makes it highly likely that Nintendo of America is eyeing a similar, if not earlier launch window, as most GameCube releases debut either in Japan or America and later make their way to Europe.

Paper Mario appeared on Nintendo's GameCube release schedule for the German market, along with Pokemon Colosseum, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Mario Golf, Nintendo Puzzle Collection, Kirby Air Ride, Mario Tennis, and Star Fox 2 all slated for the same time period.


Mario Kart: Double Dash - Bonus Disc
Posted on August 22, 2003 @ 4:39 PM EDT by: Hairball
Though unconfirmed, retail assets uncovered by IGNcube indicate that Nintendo of America may be planning to offer a free 'bonus disc' to consumers who pre-order Mario Kart: Double Dash. The disc, according to a piece of artwork distributed to chains such as Electronics Boutique, will contain playables and possibly video previews of GameCube software. We do not yet know if the playables will be of new games or, in fact, if the disc will be similar or identical to previous ones.
According to the retail art for the offer, the bonus disc will be handed out "at the time of purchase [of Mario Kart]."

Mario Kart: Double Dash, a 3D racer which features recognizable Nintendo mascots such as Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Donkey Kong, is set to hit GameCube on November 17.

Look for more on the game, including hands-on previews, as we are able to play newer, more complete versions of it.


Nintendo to target Chinese market
Posted on August 16, 2003 @ 3:21 PM EDT by: Hairball
Nintendo Co. is drawing up a new game plan to help it gain ground on archrival Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

Part of the plan includes selling game consoles in China, a virtually untapped market, partly to make up for lackluster sales at home. The video game maker expects its push into China will probably begin by year-end.

On the home front, Nintendo intends to introduce a point system offering privileges to buyers of its game console software.

With the new steps, the company hopes to close the gap between its struggling GameCube console and Sony's frontrunning PlayStation 2.

Nintendo, which is still formulating the blueprint for its China expansion, plans to announce which products it intends to sell there and other details in the near future.

The company is considering taking a new approach in China instead of marketing its current lineup as is, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said last week.

A different marketing approach is necessary due to the difference in income standards between the two countries and problems such as rampant piracy in China, company officials said.

The Club Nintendo point system is designed to be a key feature of the company's year-end marketing blitz in Japan.

Purchasers of Nintendo software will accumulate points like air travelers collect mileage. Amassing a certain amount of points will entitle the purchasers to Nintendo goods, such as new game demos.

To qualify for the Club Nintendo benefits, purchasers must first register on the Internet. Nintendo plans to use the information supplied to analyze its customer base and consumer preferences.

``We want to make use of the data as a new marketing tool,'' Iwata said.

He added that the company plans to announce a successor to its current generation of consoles next spring.

The GameCube, Nintendo's mainstay product, got a head start on rival units when it debuted in 2001, but suffered from a dearth of popular titles the following year. The company is currently sitting on mountains of inventory.

Nintendo's cumulative worldwide shipments stood at 9.55 million units at the end of March, far behind PlayStation 2's 51.2 million units.

Sony announced plans in May to begin selling a new hand-held game console-a stronghold of Nintendo's Game Boy Advance-at the end of 2004.

``Investors became so overly pessimistic about our future growth potential that Nintendo's share price plummeted,'' Iwata said.

In the past, Nintendo was able to maintain its decisive lead in the video game industry just by promoting new game titles via TV commercials targeted at the general public.

But traditional marketing methods, which had been effective since the introduction of the company's blockbuster Family Computer models in 1983, no longer work, say company officials.

Iwata said the video game market is becoming saturated and Nintendo can no longer rest on its laurels.

That sense of crisis is a main factor behind the decision to launch the new point system, company officials said.

Sony, meanwhile, is attempting to transform its game consoles into digital appliances by fusing them with the company's highly rated audio-visual equipment.

Nintendo has refused to follow suit, maintaining instead that its priority is to offer entertaining game titles that anybody can readily enjoy.

As the critical year-end shopping season approaches, Nintendo plans to roll out new titles to help it regain its competitive edge and market share.

If all goes well for Nintendo, it could be a season to be jolly after all.


Nin-tid-bit: Game Boy Advance & e-Reader Retail Bundle
Posted on August 15, 2003 @ 9:02 PM EDT by: Hairball
Nin-tid-bit n. A choice morsel of information regarding Nintendo®

Although summer is in full sizzling swing, Nintendo is bundling up! Bundling up with one of its most popular and successful franchises that is … Game Boy®.

For a limited time beginning Oct. 13, consumers who purchase an Indigo or Glacier Game Boy® Advance for an MSRP of $79.99, will also receive an e-Reader with a Donkey Kong Jr.-e game and sample pack.

In addition, three new e-Reader card series are set to launch in time for the holidays:

  • Pokémon® Battle-e cards – Players will now be able to battle new trainers with new more powerful Pokémon as well as Pokémon not available in Pokémon® Ruby and Sapphire versions. Pokémon Battle-e cards launch on Oct. 20.
  • Super Mario® Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. ® 3-e cards – These e-Reader cards expand Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 game play with additional levels and power-up items. Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3-e cards launch on Oct. 20.
  • Game & Watch-e™ cards – The series includes more than 25 different games, including original Game & Watch™ games, special color versions, and highly collectable rare versions that replace Mr. Game & Watch with popular Nintendo characters. Game & Watch-e cards launch on Nov. 17.

    Summer is HOT but Nintendo is definitely COOL!

    Source: Nintendo Media Site

    Despite Popular Support, Mario Terminates California Gubernatorial Recall Election Bid
    Posted on August 15, 2003 @ 9:00 PM EDT by: Hairball
    Mario Party Activity Increases; 2004 Presidential Election Plans Still Undecided

    LOS ANGELES, Aug. 14, 2003 -- Video game pioneer Mario disappointed voters across the state of California today, confirming he will not be a candidate in the upcoming gubernatorial recall election. Instead, he disclosed plans to focus on furthering the development of the Mario Party, a well-established, alternative grassroots movement for people who want to see real action from their candidates.

    "The California recall election is too much of a circus, even for me, and I live in a world filled with Koopa Troopas and man-eating plants. Multi-player is good – but this election is over the top," says Mario. "I definitely would have been the most animated candidate but, even in times of deep budget deficits, saving princesses has to take priority."

    Beginning Nov. 11, Mario will launch the next stage in the evolution of the Mario Party. His first act will be restoring peace to Dream World, just one plank in a long list of guarantees in the Mario Party® 5 platform. Running exclusively on the Nintendo GameCube™ ticket, Mario and trusted cabinet members Donkey Kong, Princess Peach, Luigi, Toad and others will take his message to the streets, campaigning non-stop across all-new game boards and through more than 60 free new mini-games.

    However, Mario remains guarded about rumors of a Presidential bid in 2004.

    "I've spent my life collecting coins, leaping over obstacles and fighting bosses, so obviously I have the necessary experience," says Mario. "But as all game players know, everything else must be put on hold until the limitless fun of Mario Party 5 is explored. Once that's done, I will make a decision."

    Since breaking onto the scene in the classic 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong®, Mario has successfully jumped between console, arcade and hand-held systems, starring in games that have sold more than 165 million copies.

    Like one of the better-known gubernatorial candidates, Mario is also a media celebrity and was born overseas. If he had continued with the race, Mario would have been one of the youngest gubernatorial candidates in California history. Because he dropped out of the election, Mario will not be disclosing his income or financial holdings, revealing only that he has enough money to buy all the Koopa shells he needs. Koopa shell options immediately jumped in after-hours market trading.

    Source: Nintendo Media Site

    Go To Summer Camp Without Leaving The House
    Posted on August 6, 2003 @ 2:28 PM EDT by: Hairball
    REDMOND, Wash., August 6, 2003 – Nintendo of America Inc. issues the call of the wild and invites video gamers to Camp Hyrule, Aug. 11-15. Nintendo's free online summer camp is designed to immerse campers in the world of Nintendo from the comfort of their own homes. During the three-day registration for Camp Hyrule 2003, more than 6,000 gamers searching for shared video gaming experiences and the inside scoop on upcoming games for Nintendo GameCube™ and Game Boy® Advance flooded to be part of the exclusive online getaway.

    Campers are assigned to one of 10 Nintendo-themed virtual cabins, including the Mario & Luigi Cabin or the Captain Falcon Cabin, where they chat with team members and real Nintendo game play counselors. Each day during camp week, campers receive instructions from a Nintendo counselor explaining the day's activities. Points are awarded to each cabin for completing the outlined activities. At week's end, members of the top three cabins, based on the highest point totals, receive virtual prizes, including Camp Hyrule badges or wallpaper, as souvenirs of their camp experience.

    "Camp Hyrule is the summer camp I wish existed when I was younger," says George Harrison, senior vice president, marketing and corporate communications, Nintendo of America Inc. "Where else can you make new friends throughout the country, explore the mysterious Lost Woods, compete in kart races and even go fishing in Lake Webaconda without leaving your own home?"

    During their camp free time, participants can venture to different game-based regions of the Camp Hyrule map, where they take part in various activities and adventures based on Nintendo's hit franchises for Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance, including:

  • F-Zero® GX/Mario Kart®: Double Dash!!™ – Campers will test their skills and reflexes, as they participate in different races on the F-Zero/Mario Kart track that runs around the entire perimeter of camp.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics® Advance Library – This Flash-based room gives players a glimpse into the mysterious Final Fantasy realm. By stumbling across the right book, campers might find themselves in an alternate universe. A puzzling mini-game grants access to a different Camp Hyrule map featuring secret chat rooms.
  • 1080°™: Avalanche – Campers can escape the summer heat and travel to the 1080° Lodge atop the distant snow-capped mountains to compete in downhill racing.
  • Mario Golf™: Toadstool Tour – The Mario Golf clubhouse hosts various golf tournaments for campers willing to brave the beautiful yet hazardous course.

    Camp Hyrule Bulletin Boards – Campers may access the Camp Hyrule Bulletin Boards 24 hours a day during the week of camp.
    The worldwide leader and innovator in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its popular home and portable video game systems. Each year, hundreds of all-new titles for the best-selling Game Boy® Advance and Nintendo GameCube™ systems extend Nintendo's vast game library and continue the tradition of delivering a rich, diverse mix of quality video games for players of all ages. Since the release of its first home video game system in 1983, Nintendo has sold more than 1.8 billion video games globally, creating enduring industry icons such as Mario™ and Donkey Kong® and launching popular culture franchise phenomena such as Metroid™, Zelda™ and Pokémon®. A wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo's operations in the Western Hemisphere.

    For more information about Camp Hyrule and other Nintendo products, visit the company’s Web sites, or

    Nintendo Reports Strong Earnings in 1st Quarter 2003
    Posted on August 6, 2003 @ 2:54 AM EDT by: Hairball
    Nintendo Co., the Japanese company that makes Super Mario and other video games, said Tuesday it earned 11.5 billion yen ($95 million) in its first fiscal quarter on strong sales of its GameBoy handheld machine.

    This is the first time Nintendo, based in Kyoto, has reported first quarter earnings, and it did not disclose comparable earnings numbers for the April-June period last year.

    Sales were up 5 percent at 83.8 billion yen ($695 million) from a year ago, company spokesman Yasuhiro Minagawa said.

    He said profits were up "by a wide margin" from the previous year, but declined to give details.

    The GameBoy Advance SP, a slicker-looking portable machine aimed at adults, sold well. Also software for the machine, "Pocket Monster Ruby/Sapphire," was popular in both Japan and the United States, the company said in a statement.

    "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker," a new game played by linking the GameBoy Advance with GameCube sold well in Europe, it said.

    GameCube is Nintendo's offering to rival Sony Corp's PlayStation 2, but PlayStation 2 leads in global sales with 53.85 million shipped so far. In another possible blow to Nintendo, Sony plans to start selling a portable game machine next year.

    Nintendo has sold 9.6 million GameCube consoles so far, while selling 37 million GameBoy Advance machines around the world. Microsoft Corp. has shipped 9.4 million Xbox (news - web sites) machines worldwide.

    During the quarter, Nintendo sold 80,000 GameCubes and 3.24 million GameBoy Advance machines.

    Analysts said Nintendo's growing GameCube inventory could be a problem.

    "Unless the company takes some drastic measures such as price cuts, reaching sales of 6 million units, or even meeting last year's 5.75 million unit level, will be difficult," said Shunji Yamashina, analyst at Morgan Stanley.

    Nintendo has targeted sales of six million GameCubes and 20 million GameBoy Advance machines during fiscal 2003, ending March 31, 2004.

    Nintendo says it is too early to tell if it can meet the targets because sales of game machines tend to be low in the first fiscal quarter but shoot up over the summer and Christmas season.

    For 2002, Nintendo reported a 67.3 billion yen ($558 million) profit, down 37 percent from the previous year, as sales dipped 9 percent to 504 billion yen ($4 billion).

    Nintendo left its profit forecast for fiscal 2003 unchanged at 65 billion yen ($539 million) on 550 billion yen ($4.6 billion) sales.